The results of pilot testing the Impact and Responsible Investing for Infrastructure Sustainability (IRIIS) system were presented at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2021). The Ufa East Exit concession project implemented by the government of the Republic of Bashkortostan and the Bashkir Concession Company (part of the VTB Infrastructure Holding) was successfully assessed for compliance with the IRIIS principles having been assigned the ‘Golden’ achievement level. Respective certificates were officially handed over to the Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan Radiy Khabirov, VTB President and Chairman of the Management Board Andrey Kostin and General Director of the Bashkir Concession Company Asabali Zakavov.
The IRIIS system was developed by VEB.RF jointly with the PPP National Development Center and AECOM with support from the Russian Ministry of Finance to improve the quality and sustainability of infrastructure projects. The assessment methodology comprises three major aspects: Economy and Governance, Quality of Life, and Environment and Climate, each having certain criteria. The East Exit is Russia’s first IRIIS certified project.
After verification, the project got 1,879 marks or 62.6% of the highest possible value (3000 marks). The highest marks were given on the Economy and Governance (76.7%) and Quality of Life (68.2%) aspects of the IRIIS methodology. The best results were demonstrated by the following criteria: the quality of project structuring, the minimum impact of construction on people, mobility and access, effective human resource management and internal communications.
Specifically, the project is subject to risk management regulations specifying the major stages and responsibility of participants. 1,500 people will be working at the site, with half of them being local residents. The share of local companies is 48.6%. Local companies provided materials and services for 5 billion roubles. The project provides for regular medical examinations and assessment of working conditions. Special conditions apply to conveyance of vehicles and people at the construction site including barrier-free environment.
In addition, the concessioner demonstrates rational use of natural resources: specific water consumption was reduced by 28.2% against the forecast volume. Wastes were reduced by 20% through their processing and reuse. There are no any designated forest or water fund lands, or any specially protected natural areas within the facility boundaries. Additionally, the company repairs environmental damages and engages in land reclamation and reproduction of aquatic biological resources. The facility’s commissioning will also have a positive impact on the environment. It is expected that pollutant emissions from vehicles will reduce by 35%, and greenhouse gas emissions - by 27%.
Radiy Khabirov, Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan:
The East Exit project has proved its economic, environmental and social significance, thus increasing its implementation efficiency and attractiveness for domestic and foreign investors. Besides, the IRIIS certification proves that the project is interesting for federal investors. This will minimise risks for all participants. Ultimately, this joint systemic work will allow us to create in Ufa a quality road construction infrastructure complying with international standards and make the life of local residents comfortable and safe.
Andrey Kostin, President and Chairman of the Management Board, VTB Bank:
“The East Exit co-financed by the VTB Group is a good example of successful implementation of major infrastructure projects in the regions. We, jointly with Bashkir government, tried to set high quality standards at the stage of project preparation and planning, which were confirmed by the IRIIS certification. I think that the introduced certification system will improve the quality of projects launched in Russia and contribute to spreading global best practices.”
Svetlana Yachevskaya, Deputy Chairperson and Member of the Board, VEB.RF:
“When selecting pilot projects, we decided to include ‘our’ project where VEB.RF is a creditor or a direct participant. So we selected the Ufa East Exit project in which we are involved through the Project Financing Factory. The first IRIIS testing results demonstrate that the system is fully operational and it can show the project’s strengths and weaknesses and identify growth opportunities, and the IRIIS certificate assures the project quality. I’m confident that joint and well-coordinated work of the infrastructure market participants will allow us to extend the IRIIS certification system nationwide.”
Asabali Zakavov, CEO, Bashkir Concession Company:
“The selection criteria for pilot projects were rather strict. In Autumn, with the assistance of VEB.RF, the Bashkir Concession Company being a concessioner for the East Exit devoted considerable effort to be included in the list of pilot projects. To become Russia’s first certified project is both a great challenge and enormous development opportunity. And, of course, it’s a unique experience offering additional advantages for the project team.”
Pavel Seleznev, CEO, National PPP Development Center:
“The assessment process for the first pilot project was rather long and labour-intensive and that brought about the necessity of digitalisation. To speed up the certification process and make its mechanism friendlier for all participants of the infrastructure market, we are planning to launch a special online module in Autumn 2021 using ROSINFRA resources. The launched service is intended to be used for applying for project certification, tracking the major verification stages and communication with participants and verifiers.”
The project for construction of a new exit road from Ufa to the M-5 Ural Highway (the East Exit) is implemented under a concession agreement entered into in 2017 between the Bashkir Concession Company (the concessioner) and the Republic of Bashkortostan (the concedent). A total of RUB40bn will be invested in the project. VEB.RF and VTB will invest RUB11.6bn in the project under the Project Financing Factory programme. It is intended that the exit road will be commissioned in late 2023.
The shareholders of the Bashkir Concession Company include the VTB Infrastructure Holding and Limak Group (Turkish construction and investment holding). The VTB Group and VEB.RF are partially financing the construction. The general contractor is Limakmarashavtodorogi.
VEB.RF and VTB Group to Finance Development of One of the World’s Biggest Platinum-Copper-Nickel Deposit
VEB.RF, VTB Group and Russian Platinum signed a memorandum of intent to finance the Chernogorsk deposit of platinum-copper-nickel ore in the Krasnoyarsk Region. The signing ceremony took place during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in the presence of the Russian President Vladimir Putin (a live link-up).
The memorandum was signed by: VEB.RF Chairman Igor Shuvalov, VTB President and Chairman of the Management Board Andrey Kostin and Russian Platinum President Musa Bazhaev.
The project involves building a mining and processing plant for seven million tonnes of ore per year in the Chernogorsk deposit. According to the company’s estimates, the project’s phase one investments exceed RUB190bn including long-term project finance. The project will receive financing under the Project Financing Factory programme, with VEB.RF acting as the Factory’s operator.
Igor Shuvalov, Chairman, VEB.RF :
“Jointly with VTB, we are structuring the transaction to finance the project for the construction of a mining and processing plant in the Chernogorsk deposit under the Project Financing Factory programme to minimise the risks of the project initiator and creditor at the investment and operational stages of this expensive project. All rouble-denominated tranches, including tranches from a commercial bank, are government subsidised for the entire length of the loan in respect of fluctuations in the key interest rate of Russia’s Central Bank. VEB.RF will also pay an additional tranche to cover the project budget increase and pay interest at the project’s investment stage, thus allowing the borrower to raise the classic project finance. Successful implementation of this large-scale project will make a significant contribution to the increase of exports. The project contributes towards national goals related to Russia’s export targets.
Andrey Kostin, President and Chairman of the Management Board, VTB Bank:
“The construction of a mining and processing plant in the Chernogorsk deposit is a large-scale project for the Russian Arctic zone, which will facilitate the region’s industrial and economic development. The comprehensive development of the deposit will make the Russian Platinum one of the world’s leaders in producing platinum group metals, thus strengthening Russia’s leading position in the industry and export potential. VTB Bank is making investment in the project in the form of bridge financing provided to Chernogorsk Mining Company.”
Musa Bazhaev, President, Russian Platinum:
“Development of the Chernogorsk deposit is the first stage of the project implemented by the Russian Platinum Group in the Norilsk industrial district. The next stage involves the development of the southern part of Norilsk-1 deposit. The project will create a state-of-the art industrial complex comparable in scale with existing facilities and distinguished by the use of modern technologies including resource-saving and environmental protection technologies. Russia will rank among the leaders in the global palladium and platinum market. Involvement of VEB.RF and VTB Group in the project will help to decrease the implementation period and improve ther project’s effectiveness.
Today, the Chernogorsk deposit contains 131 million tonnes of ore rich in 4E metals (palladium, platinum, rhodium, gold) - 3.19 grams per tonne, copper - 025%, and nickel - 0.20%. The project will be implemented drawing on the best standards applied in the mining and metallurgical industry as well as sustainable development principles.
The Project Financing Factory provides for financing of projects on the “80 to 20” syndication principle, with 20% being the project initiator’s own funds and 80% - borrowed funds syndicated through tranches to minimise risks of project participants.
VEB.RF Group to Finance the World’s First Cross-Border Passenger Cableway Project in Amur Region
VEB.DV (part of the VEB.RF Group), Agency for Development of Project Initiatives (ADPI, part of the REGION Group) and the Government of the Amur Region agreed to cooperate in implementing a project for the construction of a cableway across the Amur river at the section of the Russian-Chinese border between Blagoveschensk and Heihe. The cooperation agreement was signed today at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum by VEB.RF Deputy Chairman and Member of the Board Artyom Dovlatov, CEO of ADPI Valeria Repkova and the Governor of the Amur Region Vasily Orlov. The total project value is RUB9.7bn. The project is implemented under the governmental agreement between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China of 3 September 2015.
The cableway will consist of two independent lines having two cabins with passenger capacity of up to 110 people. It will service 1,788 passengers per hour in one direction. The expected passenger traffic in both directions is about 1 million people per year. The cableway length is 976 metres. It is intended that the cableway will begin operation in 2023.
In addition, a four-level passenger terminal with an area of 26,000 square meters will be constructed on the Russian side.
“VEB.DV encourages investment in the Far East providing low-interest loans and long-term financing for various investment projects. The memorandum of cooperation on such an interesting and unique international project for cableway construction is an additional guarantee of stable financing, and that gives us the confidence that the facility will be commissioned in two years. The cableway construction is one of our priority projects. Apart from being a comfortable means of cross-border transportation, the cableway will provide a significant incentive for the development of tourism. Besides, the launch of such unique project will produce a multiplying effect for the capital of the Amur Region,” Governor of the Amur Region Vasily Orlov said.
“Construction of the world’s first cross-border passenger cableway between Blagoveschensk and Heihe will bring added impetus to the development of tourist infrastructure in the Far East, make the region attractive for foreign tourists and lay solid foundations for strengthening Russian-Chinese relations,” VEB.RF Deputy Chairman Artyom Dovlatov said.
“A high-technology international project implemented by ADPI (part of the REGION Group) provides for coordinated work of international teams from Russia, China, France and the Netherlands. The project is the first of a kind, and it definitely will encourage the growth of cross-border agglomeration, create new jobs, facilitate the development of tourism, strengthen economic and social ties, and boost trade turnover in the frontier region,” CEO of ADPI Valeria Repkova said.
VEB.RF Group to Participate in Multipurpose Deep-Water Seaport Construction Project in Sakhalin Region
VEB.DV (part of the VEB.RF Group) and the Sakhalin Region Development Corporation (SRDC) agreed to jointly implement a project for the construction of a multipurpose deep-water seaport in the Sakhalin Region. The agreement was signed today at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum by VEB.RF Deputy Chairman and Member of the Board Artyom Dovlatov and CEO of the SRDC Andrey Medvedev.
The project is intended to rehabilitate and expand the existing Korsakov Seaport and create a multipurpose deep-water seaport and a hub on its territory.
The project will receive financing under a concession agreement.
“As it is today, the transport facility is obsolete and worn-out, and fails to meet the regional economic challenges. Korsakov, however, has a very advantageous location at the intersection of sea and land trade routes from the European part of Russia to the Asia-Pacific region. As instructed by the government of the Sakhalin Region, we are now involved in the project aimed at radical upgrading of the port. Our task is to ensure safe navigation, cargo handling and tourism in line with global standards. Equally important, the port in the south of Sakhalin will encourage business activity, create new jobs and bring about a considerable rise in tax revenues,” Andrey Medvedev said.
“Implementing the project for the construction of a seaport will help to fulfil strategic tasks of developing maritime transport and create an economically efficient, technically fit and competitive port infrastructure in the Sakhalin Region,” VEB.RF Deputy Chairman Artyom Dovlatov said.
VEB.RF and the Yaroslavl Region agreed to develop the Golden Ring Resort. The cooperation agreement was signed on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum by CEO of the Resort Yaroslav Voskresensky and Governor of the Yaroslavl Region Dmitry Mironov. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Igor Shuvalov, VEB.RF Chairman, and Aleksander Kliachin, the founder of Azimut Hotels network being the project operator.
Specifically, the parties agreed to be jointly involved in the construction of a fitness centre on the territory of the resort under the investment programme of the Yaroslavl Region. The total project value will be RUB250mn, with VEB.RF being the major investor. Today VEB.RF is preparing a plan of historic part of Pereslavl-Zalessky. The Head of the Region offered to scale up the process stressing the benefits for the historic city which is an integral and important part of the Russian Golden Ring.
“Signing this investment agreement further fosters strategic cooperation between the Yaroslavl Region and VEB.RF. I would like to express my gratitude to VEB.RF for going ahead with upgrading the tourism and recreation centre which is becoming a local landmark of Pereslavl-Zalessky. This will allow us to take tourist proposals to a qualitatively new level. VEB development institutions actively support the development of recreation zones and tourist attractions in the Yaroslavl Region,” said the Governor of the Yaroslavl Region Dmitry Mironov.
“One of strategic and important priority tasks of VEB.RF as a national development institution is developing the domestic tourism market. We understand that the Golden Ring is comparable to other tourist locations in the world both in terms of sightliness and historic value. However, the resort needs upgrading to enhance the comfort level and stimulate the tourist interest based on the highest performance criteria ensuring convenient modern services and a high security level,” Alexander Tarabrin said.
“Developing the Golden Ring Resort, creating new urban spaces and infrastructure are our absolute priorities. We are currently preparing a master plan to develop the hotel’s territory including new services, and recreation and entertainment zones for tourists and guests. The hotel’s territory and facilities allow us to hold various high-level events. The hotel’s development will create new jobs for the local residents and increase tax revenues to the regional budget,” CEO of the Golden Ring Resort Yaroslav Voskresensky said.